Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Community, Books, Food, etc...

Happy Wednesday people! Its been a regular ol' week around here so far. We had such a fantastic and exciting weekend without even leaving our neighborhood! For the first time in a long long time (maybe since May?) we were all here and the weather was actually nice enough to be outside. We spent nearly the entire weekend at various parks and it was glorious. Saturday we went to the riverside park---B on his bike (he can finally ride, though starting and stopping is a challenge) and L on his two wheel scooter. G and I got some active time in, chasing them around, and then friends happened to show up and I got some socializing as well. We then headed to the boys' schoolyard for a back-to-school festival. EVERYONE was there! I volunteered at the activity table, caught up with and met so many parents, and ate delicious tacos. Dinner done. Sunday we had a brunch playdate with one of L's besties from daycare. They have a bunch of different food allergies so I was challenged in creating a gluten and dairy free feast. I think it was OK but the frittata just wasn't the same without cheese. Friend stayed over for more play and park and then another neighborhood friend came over and we had 4 boys fighting with lightsabers and for one amazing moment it was...perfect. My kids, their friends, on a sunny Sunday at our house in the city...that perfect happy kid chaos that is everything I ever dreamed of. And then someone poked someone near the eye and I had to break up the game and then someone was hungry and we had to head back outside and then they fought about what kind of tag to play and it all fell apart was a moment. 

A quick list of recent reads:

1) Ron Chernow's biography of Alexander Hamilton. This was well-written and really fascinating but also quite long and took forever. I almost gave up except that B, who is obsessed with the musical, kept asking me to tell him everything about each chapter, and G was also interested in the history, so I kept it up in service to my family. I do love learning about history. I'm really into politics and current events and it is impossible to fully understand today without the relevant background of yesterday.  I'm going to seek out more American history non-fiction. Recommendations welcome. 

2) An American Marriage by Tayari Jones. This was fast-paced and quick, but complex. I'm going to suggest it for my book club because it is right up our ally and will lead to a good discussion. I'm not sure who I was rooting for or what I wanted to happen in the end. 

3) The Sun Does Shine by Anthony Hinton. Highly recommended for fans of Just Mercy, this is the true account of a wrongfully imprisoned death row inmate that Brian Stevenson helped free. I cried more than once, but was also unbelievably inspired. The positive attitude and atmosphere Hinton was able to cultivate really provides perspective for my day to day grumbling. 

4) I'll Be Your Blue Sky by Maria de los Santos. This was just what I needed after some really heavy stuff (and the wrongful accusation themes of the last 2 in particular) I love all her books, the way she writes about romance/love is like she took a peek into my head when I was in my 20s. Its so perfect its right on the edge of cheesy, but she usually doesn't fall over. She revisits the characters from Love Walks In and Belong To Me, and the familiarity was cozy.

5) Simon vs the Homo Sapien Agenda by Becky Albertali. Speaking of cozy....I'm halfway through so far and this book is.... ADORABLE. I want to be in this family, this close-knit group of quirky friends, this theater club, all of it. Its so cute I almost can't stand it, I want to pinch their cheeks and hug them all. Obviously a YA novel but a must-read for anyone. I also love that its set in the south, but the progressive south, a setting that I would consider underrepresented in modern lit. 

Back to back playdates and being at the park late led to us ordering a pizza on Sunday night instead of grilling our own. And Monday was B's social skills and L's soccer at exactly the same time so we all got home at 7. G miraculously pulled together a meal of TJs freezer delights and I was shocked that both kids at the veggie and shrimp potstickers! We bulked up the meal with some naan and leftover fruit salad from brunch. 

So now we have several meals on our meal plan to get through! Last night I made Korean-style tacos with ground chicken seasoned with onion/garlic/ginger and a yummy gyoza dipping sauce and topped with Asian slaw (slaw mix marinated in rice wine vinegar and soy sauce) and kimchee (for the grown ups). Again, surprised that my kids ate most of this, though they did pull out most of the slaw. Tonight its fish and salad, with toast for the kids, tomorrow will be leftover tacos, and Friday we will grill the pizza I guess. 

We are going camping with our next door neighbors Saturday night. We honestly don't hang out with them much, we invite them over often but they are wishy washy and tend to back out at the last minute a lot and haven't invited us over once in all these years! They missed the other two camping trips to their son's dismay, so we settled on this weekend and no one else can come so its just the two families. I hope its not too awkward. They have a 5 year old in KG at the boys' school and he gets along great with L but that'll be good. The dad is super friendly and will talk your ear off but seems to have trouble organizing plans and the mom seems a bit standoffish though when I've talked to her she's really nice usually. I know they are going through IF, she's had several MCs and has retreated somewhat socially (according to the husband who really will tell anyone anything apparently). Maybe this will be a good chance to forge a stronger relationship? 

Anyways. Lots of updates all in one, if I have the chance to write again this week I have some topics in mind! 

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